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ICE arrests 12 Saturday; local organizations address WNC community with press conference

Photo: WLOS staff

Local activists and organizations held a press conference Saturday in Asheville, to "brief media and the community about the ICE attacks on Latinx community this morning."

The conference started Saturday at about 4 p.m. outside the Federal Building at 151 Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville.

On Saturday afternoon, an ICE official told News 13 that two people were arrested Saturday "during a targeted immigration enforcement action today in the Asheville area." The ICE spokesperson further confirmed a total of 12 arrests across Western North Carolina on Saturday.

"The majority of those arrested have criminal convictions beyond their immigration status or are illegal re-entrants (illegally reentered the United States after previous deportation)," wrote Bryan D. Cox, ICE Southern Region communications director, in an email to News 13.

A few hundred people gathered to speak their minds about what they are calling unconstitutional roundups of Latinos.

Some who had their family members arrested Saturday just asked to be reunited with their loved ones.

In a statement to News 13, an ICE spokesperson confirmed two people were arrested in Asheville and about 10 others were arrested throughout Western North Carolina as part of a "targeted immigration enforcement action," saying the majority of those arrested have criminal convictions beyond their immigration status, or illegally re-entered the United States after prior deportation.

There were numerous reports on social media Saturday of ICE raids in Asheville, with those reports saying more raids are expected this weekend. ICE officials have confirmed only the information above, of the arrest of two people in Asheville and 12 total in WNC.

A press release from Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) and the WNC Sanctuary Movement says that "ICE raided several Asheville area neighborhoods resulting in the detention of at least 7 Latinx community members. Members of our community were detained in their neighborhoods while running simple errands or on their way to work on a Saturday morning. Neighborhoods throughout the Emma Elementary neighborhood, in Hendersonville, and in Flat Rock are reeling at the sudden loss of their loved ones. While local organizers are mobilizing support for these families, information about where they have been taken, the reasons for their detention, and the opportunity to bring in legal counsel are still unavailable."

CIMA and the WNC Sanctuary Movement says that it has "unconfirmed information" that ICE raids may last through the weekend in Buncombe and Henderson counties.

The full text of the press release is below:

PRESS ADVISORY: ICE Raids in Asheville and Surrounding Areas Press Conference at 4 pm TODAY Outside the Federal Building
Saturday, April 14th, 2018
Asheville, NC - Local Sanctuary activists and organizations will be holding a press conference today at 4 pm outside of the Federal Building (151 Patton Avenue) to brief media and the community about the ICE attacks on Latinx community this morning.
This morning, ICE raided several Asheville area neighborhoods resulting in the detention of at least 7 Latinx community members. Members of our community were detained in their neighborhoods while running simple errands or on their way to work on a Saturday morning. Neighborhoods throughout the Emma Elementary neighborhood, in Hendersonville, and in Flat Rock are reeling at the sudden loss of their loved ones. While local organizers are mobilizing support for these families, information about where they have been taken, the reasons for their detention, and the opportunity to bring in legal counsel are still unavailable.
CIMA and the WNC Sanctuary Movement is actively monitoring community members were alerted to the ICE presence and mobilized to document the arrests and support the families who were traumatized by this attack on their families. Information has been gathered and shared with the volunteers on a legal team formed to help locate and track the detainees through the ICE system. We know that some of them have been immediately moved out of the area making it difficult for family members or legal representatives to find and support their family. A family member of one the detainees told us, “I am afraid and I don’t know what is going to happen to my family member and to the community.”
We have unconfirmed information that it is possible that these ICE raids may last through the weekend in Buncombe and Henderson counties. We appreciate your support and for more information please follow the CIMA Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción and Nuestro Centro Facebook pages online.

The full text of ICE communication to News 13 from Bryan D. Cox, Southern Region communications director is below:

I can confirm for you that ICE arrested two individuals during a targeted immigration enforcement action today in the Asheville area. As we have personnel assigned throughout North Carolina, and an office in the Asheville area, it’s safe to say we’re present there, and make arrests there, routinely.
As far as how ICE conducts enforcement, ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and any suggestions as to ICE engaging in random or indiscriminate enforcement are categorically false. ICE only conducts targeted enforcement; ICE does not conduct checkpoints, raids or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.
The agency’s arrest stats clearly reflect this reality. Nationally, 92 percent of all persons arrested by ICE in FY17 either had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, or were already subject to a removal order issued by a federal immigration judge.
Here’s stats to further illustrate ICE enforcement. The Atlanta field office covers Georgia and the Carolinas. I cannot break stats down below the field office level, so this is as detailed as I can provide for North Carolina data. For what it’s worth, if you divide the 13,551 arrests made in FY17 you’ll get that it breaks out to an average of roughly 260 arrests each week for the three-state Atlanta field office.
Atlanta field office ICE administrative arrest stats:
FY17: 13,551 arrests, 9,111 convicted criminal – 67 percent
FY16: 8,886, 7,816 criminal – 88 percent
FY15: 10,093, 9,088 criminal – 90 percent
FY14: 14,274, 10,741 criminal – 75 percent
FY13: 17,600, 12,851 criminal – 73 percent


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